After 11 years and 23 films, Marvel Studios weaved one of the biggest blockbuster tapestries of all time.
The Infinity Saga finished with Avengers: Endgame as the climax and Spider-Man: Far From Home as the epilogue. This was a grand achievement of cinema and the culmination for millions of fans across the world. Then, it was time to get behind the new era of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
One of the biggest tools in that new era is Disney+. Phase 4 began with WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier going back-to-back to release 15 episodes of trailblazing Marvel Studios television over the same number of weeks. This not only introduced an entirely new medium to this cinematic universe but also established Disney+ as an essential for any die-hard Marvel fan.
The tool that is Disney+ has been used in a number of creative ways to help promote and improve the experience of the MCU. One way the franchise has enhanced that experience is by creating collections ahead of new projects headlined by established characters. Both Loki and Black Widow received special collections for their title characters ahead of release, featuring past projects that starred those heroes.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings introduced the first new title character post-Infinity Saga, so no collection of Shang-Chi's past work could be made. However, Disney+ still set out to increase that experience by releasing the former DVD special feature short All Hail The King, a Marvel One-Shot.
As Shang-Chi has burst on the scene in the MCU, and things look to be changing in a big way going into Eternals and Spider-Man: Far From Home, Disney+ found another way to enhance the experience moving forward by taking a look into the past.
The Infinity Saga Collection on Disney+
Another collection has been released by Disney+, but instead of featuring projects from one specific character, it features every project in the Infinity Saga (within the limitations of the movie rights).
The hero image of the collection features not only the foundational characters of the MCU's past like Iron Man and Captain America but also the leaders of the MCU future like Captain Marvel, Sam Wilson, and Wanda Maximoff.
A view of the collection on mobile features our headlining heroes assembled in the Avengers "A," including Shuri with a prominent spot.
Included in this collection are 20 of the 23 films from Phase 1 through 3 that combine to create The Infinity Saga:
- Iron Man
- Iron Man 2
- Captain America: The First Avenger
- The Avengers
- Iron Man 3
- Thor: The Dark World
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1
- Avengers: Age of Ultron
- Captain America: Civil War
- Doctor Strange
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
- Thor: Ragnarok
- Black Panther
- Avengers: Infinity War
- Ant-Man and the Wasp
- Captain Marvel
- Avengers: Endgame
Three projects from the Infinity Saga are not included in this collection due to the movie rights being owned by other studios. Those projects are The Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Spider-Man: Far From Home.
The Legend of the MCU
23 mostly successful projects over 11 years was an accomplishment hitherto undreamt of back in 2008 when it all started. For all intents and purposes, it was even started in a cave with a box of scraps. The Marvel Cinematic Universe built one of the most spectacular and elaborate stories ever told on the big screen throughout the Infinity Saga.
To follow up, after seeing Phases 1 and 2 having six projects each, and Phase 3 nearly double that with 11, there have already been six new titles in Phase 4 within the calendar year. And there are at least three more scheduled for release before year's end.
While the 2020 drought and the addition of the Disney+ series' make that number a tad less dramatic, it is still clear that the new era of the MCU is in full swing and has no intentions of slowing down. That makes this surprise tribute to the Infinity Saga on Disney+ all the more special.
It is a wild thought that one day, fans might gather around a water cooler and discuss their favorite saga in the MCU. There will always be something special about those first 23 films. Marvel Characters that were once considered B-list skyrocketed to some of the genre's biggest heroes. Furthermore, risks were taken on some of the most obscure names in the Marvel Universe to make them household names throughout the galaxy.
And while the Infinity Saga is widely considered one of the rare movie franchises that stuck that landing, Marvel Studios was also able to set itself up for continued success moving forward. Building off the Infinity Saga story, embracing diversity in its lead roles, and using Disney+ to enhance the supporting players on its roster have led to Phase 4 being nothing short of a raging success just 5.5 projects in.
Looking at the artwork for this collection, it seems to highlight some of the characters that were established in Phases 1 through 3 and are now starters in Phase 4. An interesting decision was featuring Letitia Wright's Shuri from the Black Panther franchise on the mobile app hero image of the collection. This implies that Shuri could soon be on the same level as newly promoted characters in the MCU hierarchy such as Wanda Maximoff and Sam Wilson.
With Black Panther: Wakanda Forever set to release in 2022, Wright is in a position to fill the massive void left by the tragic passing of the late Chadwick Boseman. With T'Challa not being recast and the IP set to continue in his honor, Shuri is the leading candidate to take on the title of Queen of Wakanda and a strong possibility to dawn the Black Panther mantle. This promotional decision to feature Shuri prominently hints that both of those could soon be the case. She is the only supporting character in this graphic that has not received a title project so far.
So, while the future of the MCU is bright with possibilities and potential, it is nice that Disney and Marvel Studios are taking a minute to reflect on their past. The Infinity Saga was an event that lasted over a decade and brought a world of fans together in the spirit of the fantastic. The late and great Stan Lee once said:
"My theory about why people like superheroes is that when we were kids, we all loved to read fairy tales. Fairy tales are all about things bigger than life…then you get a little bit older and you stop reading fairy tales but you don’t ever outgrow your love of them."
The first 23 movies for the Marvel Cinematic Universe brought an appreciation for fairy tales to whole new heights. Moving forward, the sky is the limit.
The Infinity Saga collection is now available to stream on Disney+.